A Bit of Vehicle History; Donlen Runs

This week, FridayFleet is teaching history. Well, not exactly “teaching”…just presenting a roundup of interesting industry stuff we’ve found in the past couple weeks.

The Chevrolet Impala is part of America’s heritage of automobiles. This look at the complete history of the Impala shows the evolution of the classic car – with pics – from 1958 up to and including the 2014 model. Nice! >http://www.complex.com/rides/2012/05/the-complete-history-of-the-chevrolet-impala/

Who can think of Ford without conjuring up the image of the iconic blue oval trademark? Introduced in 1907, and first used on a 1928 Model A, the trademark has become synonymous with the automaker – which up until this week was in danger of losing it. In December, 2006, Ford mortgaged the iconic Ford logo (along with other intellectual property and assets) to secure loans that helped them survive the economic crisis in the auto industry. Although Ford repaid the loans in 2011, they could not get back their collateral – including the logo – until regaining investment-grade ratings. That happened this week. “When we pledged the Ford blue oval as part of the loan package, we were not just pledging an asset. We pledged our heritage,” Ford Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “Getting the Ford blue oval back feels amazing, and it is one of the best days that I can remember.” We’re happy that it’s back where it belongs.

This year marks the 40th year for BMW’s M division, and Car and Driver pulled together some of their features on this performance machine over the past several decades. Boy oh boy! Do we love those 1980s M series vehicles! >http://www.caranddriver.com/features/40-years-of-bmw-m-tests-drives-and-more-feature

If you ever wanted to know the complete genealogy of automobile companies, look no further. This graphic (available as a poster) spans the time period from the early 1900s to today, and includes the history of more than 100 companies.

Next time you’re in Sterling Heights, Michigan, be sure to stop by the General Motors Heritage Center and check out the more than 600 cars and trucks that make up GM’s automotive history. Everything from concept cars and one-offs, race cars and milestone productions, and the first electric self-starter on the 1912 Cadillac are on display. We’ll be checking it out next time we’re in the area. Check out their website here – which includes a very cool counter of how long the company has been in business (103 years, 258 days, 11 hours, 44 minutes, and 25…er 26…27… seconds)
> http://www.gmheritagecenter.com/gm-vehicle-collection/

Getaway with Hertz and a discount! It’s vacation time and that means renting cars. If you want to be a rock star and offer up to a 20% discount on leisure rentals to all the employees of your company, contact your Donlen rep to obtain a customized URL to post on your company intranet or for more information on this exclusive program.

Running for a cause: The sky was clear, the weather was unseasonably warm, and Donlen staffers were ready to burn shoe rubber for charity last Thursday, joining 23,000 other enthusiastic runners and walkers for the Chicago JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge. After a high-energy, music-driven “mass warm-up” led by a group of fitness trainers, the 5K race was on, winding its way from Chicago’s scenic lakefront through downtown.

Elite runners finished in a blistering time of just over 17 minutes! Some of Donlen’s team kept a brisk pace as well, with our top runner, Walter Waltz, Help Desk Manager, clocking in at 25:03. The sun was setting behind the Chicago skyline just as the final Donlen teammates crossed the finish line. Although tired, our racers were in a festive mood as they re-energized with a delicious barbeque in the Donlen tent. Congratulations Donlen team! Well done.

Driver’s Corner

Is it raining where you are? If you’re in Florida, you happen to be in the state with the highest summer average of more than 7 inches per month. For the rest of us, we can expect a monthly average of about 3 inches. That’s a lot of water! There are two important things that you can do today to help you weather the storm (pun intended). Check your tire tread; a proper tread will not only give you better traction on wet roads but as an added bonus will also help increase your MPG. Next, check to make sure your wiper blades are not showing signs of wear. Worn wiper blades will smear your windshield instead of clearing it. Two easy ways to help you stay safe, no matter what the weather.

And Finally…

And finally, we know, we know…this has very little to do with fleet (although one could speak to F1 technology’s influence on the auto industry), but the geek in us can’t resist sharing this. The Sauber Formula 1 team spent the last two years splitting an F1 car precisely down the middle. What results is an awesome look at the “guts” of one of the most technologically advanced machines in the world – including how the driver fits into the compact interior. No wasted space, all the components as low as possible, and the weight kept to minimum using the strongest and lightest material available – while paying close attention to safety. Check out the video for yourself > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Wn1EFLa2C8&feature=youtu.be

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on June 1, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (www.donlen.com), with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”